The problem: Whenever I talk to a new group of people, I would often favor the opinions of those who also hate seafood - like me.
Don’t get me wrong - I never proactively try to do this.
It’s subconscious. It’s an underlying assumption that says: “Seafood lovers are not my type of people. They are not trust-worthy.
You see how toxic that was? :(
It wasn’t until I learned about it in PHIL105G that I finally realised and understood:
I was suffering from a form of psychological bias - confirmation bias.
Sounds fancy? Yep, a confirmation bias basically means: We, as human beings, often only listen to things that are aligned with our opinions and disregard/ignore others.
That was literally what I was doing - only listening to those who agreed with “hating seafood” led me to trust them more instead of others.
I know. When I found out about this - my mind was B.L.O.W.N.
Example 2: Appeal to Authority
This is about a fallacy that we all make called appeal to authority.
“Okay Matthew - enough with the fancy words already. Speak human please?” - said one of my friends.
Yea sure :) You guys remembered this picture?:
And did you notice the website? Yeah - it came from a site called “english.gamingonline.vn” which had nothing to do with seafood and was completely made up (by me - Matthew Le).
-- That, right there, is called a fallacy (or an appeal to authority, to be specific).
Okay, let me break it down:
- You guys were convinced that Vietnam was the world’s 3rd largest seafood exporter based on an article on Google (hopefully).
- I intentionally used the Google logo and search layout in the photo in order to create the feeling that this article came from a trust-worthy authority.
- In reality, as we now know, this article is made up. Fake news in other words.
This is the perfect example of an appeal to authority: we, as human beings, often believe things just because they are from seemingly-trust-worthy sources (eg, Google or Wikipedia.)
As you can see, getting to see and understand these very-much-practical-things that we all do daily was a total game-changer for me.
This was all done thanks to the University of Auckland for letting students like me choose some totally unrelated courses to my degree so that I could:
- Explore my options
- Gain a broader skill base for career adaptability in the future
- Have a kick-ass CV/portfolio
Excited for next year! :)